Formations Lesson for Oct- 17- Time and Eternity
September 30 2010 by Christopher Moore, minister of education, children and senior adults, Durham Memorial Baptist Church, Durham

Focal Passage: Ecc. 3:9-15

I’m awful with directions. No, seriously. I couldn’t find the floor if I tripped. The sad part about it is that I could have avoided getting lost so many times had I just acknowledged this deficiency earlier. Instead, I always had ready-made justifications for why I was getting “turned around.”

They’d go something like the following: “Someone gave me bad directions,” “I was deep in thought and missed the turn,” “Road signs were wrong,” “I’m still recovering from an alien abduction.” You know, the standard excuses.  What made matters even worse was that, aside from the alien abduction thing, I actually believed these excuses myself! I could not admit to myself that I was simply bad with directions.

We often find it difficult to acknowledge our limitations. Though couched in some admittedly bleak language, that’s a point Qohelet (the author of Ecclesiastes) wants to drive home in Ecclesiastes 3.  Having marked out the limits of human existence in verses 1-8, Qohelet now turns his attention to the limits of human knowledge. Humans cannot fathom God’s ways (v. 11), and upon admitting this ignorance humans can revere God all the more (v. 14). 

But Qohelet doesn’t stop there. He makes the striking claim that humans have no advantage over the animals; just as their origins are the same, so too their ends will be the same (vv. 19-20).

Now before we cringe at what we think is a devaluing of humanity, it is important here to remember that Qohelet’s point is theological, not biological. Notice in verse 18 that it is God’s desire that humans see they are like the animals. Why? Because when it comes to knowing the ways of God, humans have more limitations than they readily admit.

Qohelet concludes by writing that a person should “enjoy his work, because that is his lot. For who can bring him to see what will happen after him?” (v. 22, NIV). In other words, instead of fretting over what God has not revealed, we should find happiness in the here and now, seizing each day as a gift from God (v. 13). Does accepting our “lot” mean we can never express to God our dissatisfaction or disillusionment? Of course not. If that were the case, a book like Ecclesiastes could have never been written! Instead, we must recognize our limited knowledge, and humbly rely on God’s infinite wisdom.

In case you’re wondering, I finally began using a GPS. It was a Christmas gift from my mother-in-law.

Like Qohelet, she realized that sometimes it takes a little nudge before we’ll admit our limitations.  
9/30/2010 8:27:00 AM by Christopher Moore, minister of education, children and senior adults, Durham Memorial Baptist Church, Durham | with 0 comments




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